Banaras has ratings and 19 reviews. Kecia said: Passport – checkIndian visa – checkVaccinations – checkAirline ticket – checkand now I KNOW wher. Diana L. Eck. This is the acclaimed study and interpretation of Banaras, the holy place of the Hindus. “In BANARAS, Diana Eck has written a notable book about this greatest of Indian pilgrimage sites Her brilliant, comprehensive book seems likely to.
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You look for books on Kashi and this book comes on top. I spoke to many people pf Varanasi about books on the city and everyone pointed me to this book. My first rendezvous with this book was in December when my friend Hema and me spent a week in Varanasi. She was reading this book, and we used it as a reference to locate some of the ancient temples in the lesser known areas of the city. In fact, we ended up finding a mistake also in the book.
Banaras: City of Light – Wikipedia
Since then I have been wanting to read this book. She presented the geography of India as I had never seen it. So, I knew her research would be impeccable. I have made or couple of more trips since then to Kashi including one for Panch Kroshi Yatra. These trips gave me a sense of the city. I have spent a year in Kashi as a kid but there are only faint memories that I have or those times.
In Banaras — the city of light, Prof Eck looks at the ancient city from various angles. She takes you through the geography which she equates to a Mandala. You see the city in its geometry. She then takes you through the various aspects of the city, its mention in various Indian scriptures especially Kashi Khand of Skand Puran and Kashi Mahatmaya. She compares notes from the Puranas with the observations of various travelers.
And She brings alive many temples that no longer exist but has been described in various traveler accounts. I learned so much about our own myths as they are mentioned in the Puranas or the Mahatmayas.
Banaras: City of Light by Diana L. Eck
I knew a bit about the popular places of Varanasi but I came to know a lot more. The Panch Kroshi Yatra that I did makes far more sense now.
I realized that inadvertently I have done a few parikramas in Kashi. It was a joy to know. I assume the book was somewhere written for the western audience in mind. However, it is just in the beginning that Prof Eck compares Kashi to other ancient cities of the world. Later on, her discourse is completely soaked in Indian ethos for Kashi. She beautifully brings out the yearning for Kashi that Shiva has and now all his devotees have.
Banaras: City of Light
She talks about the story of Ganga as it is an inherent part of Banaras — City of Light. What is interesting is that from the point of view of history, she takes you to the original site of Kashi that lies north of the current city of Varanasi.
She tells you how Kashi lives in rest of India and how all of India lives in Kashi.
Every other pilgrim site of India has its own space in Kashi. Banaras becomes the microcosm of India.
It also traces the Buddhism and Jainism along with other unconventional ot of Hinduism like Aghora. You wonder where the so-called Anand Van is? You wonder where all those lakes riana and ec, wonder if the Manikarnika Kund was as small with so many legends attached to it. You want to see the original temples at Jnan Vyapi and Panchganga Ghat. Well, you have to be there to see how death is just another event in the life of Banaras, unlike other cities where it invokes sadness and detachment.
Is that not what we have always said — when we say it is the city of light. Towards the end of the book, Prof Eck takes us through a year in Banaras through its various festivals and fasts.
As Indians, we know most of these. But when you read it in one go, you realize that we live from festival to festival. It is a nanaras celebration where at the end of the year we just come back to the beginning — for the next cycle. Glad to read your article. Banaras is the place of God. India diwna a huge heritage history. Thanks for sharing the article.
Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Did you know Banaras comes from Baranasi — the Prakrit version Varanasi?
A highly recommended book to read on Varanasi. Banaras City of Light. Ultimate Grandmother Hacks by Kavita Devgan. Shambuka Rama Three tales retold by Mukunda Rao.
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